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Another slow start dooms Mavericks

By Bill Althaus
Kansas City Mavericks forward Giorgio Estephan, center, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a third-period goal in Tuesday's ECHL game against the Wichita Thunder at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks scored two late goals but overcome a big early deficit in an 8-4 loss.

An all too familiar problem raised its ugly head again Tuesday night at Cable Dahmer Arena.

The visiting Wichita Thunder remained unbeaten on the road as they manhandled the Kansas City Mavericks 8-4 in an ECHL Mountain Division matchup.

While the point total was a season high for coach Tad O'Had's squad, it was another frustrating night of hockey as the Thunder took a 2-0 lead after one period, pushed it to 5-2 after the first 40 minutes and scored the first three goals in the final period to turn the game into a rout.

"We're not good enough; we're not where we need to be," said O'Had, who was honest, direct and to the point following the loss. "We've been talking all week about coming out strong in the first period."

Wichita outshot the Mavericks 16-6 in the opening 20 minutes.

"We talk about accountability, reflecting deep within ourselves and finding how adversity can define us as individuals,” O’Had added. “We need to work harder, and I mean work harder from the opening puck."

Kansas City Mavericks defenseman Willie Corrin (5) maneuvers around Wichita's Gordie Green (18) for a backhand shot in their game Tuesday at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks fell behind 4-0 and fell 8-4.

The Mavericks scored two goals in the final period, long after the game had been decided by lackluster play in the opening two periods. O'Had even changed goalies midway though the second period, replacing starter Andrew Shortridge with Sean Bonar, and each goalie gave up four goals.

"It's not working, me yelling and screaming at them after the first period," O’Had said. "Maybe getting out of town, going on this long trip, will be beneficial. It's time where the guys will be together a lot and give them an opportunity to bond."

The Mavericks hit the road and don't return to Cable Dahmer Arena until Jan. 23, when they play host to the Allen Americans.

Kansas City Mavericks forward Lane Scheidl (9) gets past Wichita's Jeremy McKenna (41) for a shot on goal in Tuesday's game at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks fell behind 4-0 and couldn't make up the difference in an 8-4 loss.

The Mavericks will play three games at Wichita this weekend and then head to Utah to face off against the Grizzlies on Jan. 15, 16 and 18. The Mavs head back to Wichita to take on the Thunder on Jan. 21 before returning home to face Allen on Jan. 23.

Wichita's Matteo Gennaro and Stefan Fournier scored in the opening period as the Mavericks offense could never get on track.

The Thunder's Anthony Beauregard and Jacob Graves added quick goals in the second period to put the Thunder ahead 4-0.

Justin Woods scored off a rebound on a shot by Giorgio Estephan to get the Mavericks’ first goal at 9:06.

Wichita Thunder defenseman Jacob Graves (20) tries to poke the puck away from Kansas City Mavericks forward Austin Farley (11) in Tuesday's game at Cable Dahmer Arena. The Mavericks suffered an 8-4 loss.

But the Thunder roared back and scored on a Jeremy McKenna goal to make it 5-1.

Phil Marinaccio scored on assists from Lane Scheidl and Brodie Reid at the 18:10 mark to cut the deficit to 5-2 going into the final period.

Wichita continued its scoring onslaught, tacking on three more goals by Jay Dickman, Mathieu Gagnon and Peter Crinella in a span of about 2 ½ minutes to put it out of reach.

Estephan scored at 14:46 and Bryan Lemos found the back of the net against the Thunder's Mitch Gillam at 16:20 to cut it to 8-4.

Estephan continues to be a bright spot for the 1-3-1-1 Mavericks as he registered a multipoint game with a goal and assist. He has eight points in six games.

"He's a special player," O'Had said of Estephan. "He's working hard to earn a shot at the AHL."